First Nighter: The Death of Klinghoffer on and Off Stage at the Met

October 21, 2014 8:30 PM

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Whatever else you might think about The Death of Klinghoffer, John Adams's 1991 opera with Alice Goodman's libretto, there's one thing it is not: anti-Semitic. By no stretch of the desperate and frightened imagination is it the work of anti-Semites. It does, however, depict anti-Semites as characters who express their feelings -- human figures primed to commit inhumane acts in response to perverted reasoning.

Nevertheless, white-hot controversy is dogging the opera's Metropolitan Opera House premier engagement after many productions elsewhere, only some of them protested. The circumstances have, not surprisingly, clouded the reality of the Adams-Goodman work.

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